Msasani Peninsula, Dar es Salaam: November 25, 2010

Several times a day my colleague is visited in his office by this Brown-Breasted Barbet, which comes to his window and thrashes itself against the glass. The bird's strange behavior is highly ritualized, he explained to me, and I was able to stake it out and capture some nice photographs of the bird as it recovered in a nearby tree (the photographs were still taken through a thick pane of glass). I've heard of other barbet species in the region acting similarly, and my guess is that the birds are using the glass, or the screen, to file down and sharpen their beaks. Perhaps, though, they're just confused by the reflected image or are simply trying to get inside the room? At any rate, it's a marvelous bird with its gorgeous head color, hefty double-toothed beak, and delicate streaking, and certainly one of the best birds in Dar.

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